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Archive for the ‘DIY Type Stuff’ Category

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Having a garage sale, yard sale, boot sale, or whatever you wanna call it sale is a great way to get rid of accumulated crap. It’s also, I discovered one warm weekend in July, a great way to learn more about my dad, Charlie, and the wacky people interested in buying both his and our assorted crap.

I made the signs, set up and wiped down all the tables – which had been stored outside for some unexplained reason and thus were covered in dirt and spider webs – and woke up bright and early with my sister, Leigh, on a Saturday morning to mind the shop set up in Dad’s garage for the next two days. We were already at a disadvantage; exhausted from staying up ridiculously late the night before to organize and then drive around under the cover of darkness (to hide our shame) putting up the signs in the neighborhood. We were also forced several times in the days leading up to the big sale to assure Charlie this was indeed a good idea and that having strangers looking through our crap would in no way hamper his ability to replace the crap we’d hopefully get rid of with more worthless crap in the future.

Not surprisingly, the 8-10 computer towers (from Dad’s assortment of 100+) we put out were not popular. While they were fully refurbished with updated components and boosted memories, they still physically looked like freak computer towers made from the parts of lesser computer towers. Even one techie nutter/customer, who gleefully explained the humble progression of his own tower addiction by saying, “One, two, three storage units later…” chuckled at the sight of them and turned his back in snobbish disgust.

But the laptops? They were another story entirely. (more…)

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deviantART artist ionselat

Feel free to tug on Superman’s cape and take your chances spittin’ in the wind, but I do not recommend asking my dad if he wants your help with something.

Anything. Not ever.

If you do (and God bless if you do), one of two things will happen:

1) You’re shot down with a resounding, “Hell NO!”

2) You receive the “Why Would You Even Ask Me Such a Stupid Question?” look (Charlie ™).

Such was the case when the handle on our kitchen sink broke and Dad begrudgingly mustered up the energy to actually do something about it.

The week began with me attempting to fill a glass (or some form of container) with water using the tap at the kitchen sink. On employment of said device, the handle immediately popped out of the base causing me to yelp, “What the…?” and resulting in no way to turn the water back off again. The former drew Charlie’s attention straight away as he lunged head first into playing the blame game.

Piscín the Wonder Kitten

Now before I go on, I should mention I am not a physically burly woman. I’m tall, about 130 lbs soaking wet and have the upper body strength of a small kitten. I suppose, if I really wanted to, I could probably rip the whole thing out with my bare hands (after several days and the assistance of a herd of steroid-fueled pro wrestlers), but in this case my only intention was to simply get a glass of water.

“Don’t pull the handle so hard!” Dad shouted across the room.

“I didn’t! It just came out!” I answered, swinging the handle indignantly in his general direction.

This went on for about a week; handle popping out and me or Dad resentfully popping it back into place. Then one morning Dad had apparently had enough of either my complaining or his own procrastination on the topic and finally took on the task of replacing the kitchen faucet. (more…)

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It’s pretty well established at this point that my dad, Charlie, is addicted to computers or – more specifically – “fixing” them. It has also been stated that while Dad is unquestionably knowledgeable in the area of electronics from the 1970s, he lacks the required formal expertise in modern-day computers and related technology. These facts, coupled with his stubborn refusal to admit his aforementioned limitations, more often than not, lead to disaster.

I wish I was making the following story up. I assure you, I am not.

Charlie’s latest forage into the realm of attempted computer repair came at the expense of a young woman’s poor, defenseless Toshiba laptop. The woman, an acquaintance from church, heard through the grapevine of Charlie’s hobby and asked if he would mind taking a look at her broken laptop screen.

One broken laptop screen? Check. (more…)

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Before traveling in from Europe (where I’ve lived the last few years) to embark on my Summer With Dad, I developed my own bizarre addiction: Sewing.

What started as a basic need to hem a pair of pants became a full-time fixation on material and thread. At one point, I actually found myself bargaining, though I’d started my day a slave to the needle at 9am, that if I just angled the table right I could still interact with family and friends well into the night while also maintaining a steady rhythm of stitches.

Is that any more weird than Charlie’s obsession with computers? Will I too find myself eventually surrounded by hundreds of machines in various states of disrepair? And why couldn’t I fit the damn thing into my checked baggage?

So shortly after I arrived, and without my trusty sewing machine (twas too heavy for the ole carry on as well), I had to find a way to feed the monkey. (more…)

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To know Charlie is to be well aware that he has a terrible addiction. For the last several years, this addiction has become increasingly debilitating and all-consuming. As with most unhealthy obsessions it hurts not only Dad, but his family as well. To be honest, this tragic situation has us all living in our own personal Hell. The number of bruises and stubbed toes alone…!

Yes, I’m ashamed to say that my father is addicted to computers. Not the Internet, mind you, though he does seem to download viruses (usually unintentionally) from less “respectable” websites a little too often. (How he keeps finding them, I’ll never – and don’t want to – know.) For Charlie, being able to get a computer on the Internet or play Hearts is only the end game. What he is addicted to is the collection and dismantling of PCs, laptops, or anything with an artificial pulse. (more…)

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